Learning & Behaviour Charitable Trust - Spelling

  • Avoid pressure

  • Keep atmosphere relaxed and happy

  • Encourage child to observe

  • Encourage child to look at words

  • Have fun with words you see around

    • Shop signs
    • Road signs
    • Newspaper headlines
    • TV adverts
    • Names
    • etc.

  • Encourage child to write for a good reason
    • Leave notes for each other
    • Shopping lists
    • Labels
    • Memos
    • Letters
    • etc.

  • Play word games - Scrabble, Lexicon, Boggle & many more

  • Help the child to be positive

    • Always encourage
    • Praise every success
    • Accept all attempts to spell
    • Talk about words - grab interest
    • Look closely at words
    • Give reasons to write
    • Practice a smooth cursive handwriting style
    • Encourage correcting own work
    • If asked, write out spellings
    • Make the child say difficult words aloud as they are written
    • Use LOOK, COVER, WRITE, CHECK method of learning
    • Try ticking all the correct words

  • Never

    • Criticise attempts
    • Compare with others
    • Say that the child is a poor speller
    • Sound out a word - always write the word
    • Try to make the child learn the words orally
    • Tell the child that you/father/uncle/grandma could not spell
    • Test on long lists of spellings
    • Lose patience or your temper


'Look, Cover, Write, Check'

Look at the word

LOOK for letter patterns and compare with other known words:


LOOK for silent letters:


LOOK for double letters:


LOOK for smaller words that you already know how to spell within the word:

 e.g.mothermoth - the - he - her - other
  fatherfat - at - a - the - he - her

LOOK at the shape of the whole word

LOOK at the tricky part of the word. How could you remember it?

 e.g.soldierhas die in the middle
  piecea piece of pie

Sometimes it is helpful if the parent can point out the ROOT WORD:

  heardnot herd

RULES are occasionally useful if they are easy to understand and have few exceptions, but usually only older children find these of value:

 e.g.double consonants usually follow short vowelsdinner - hopping - stopping

Our RULE is when in doubt don't confuse

Cover the word

COVER the word so that it cannot be seen. You should try to REMEMBER the word not copy it.

Write the word

Now try to WRITE the word from memory as quickly as possible.

Use a pencil. Then you can rub the word out and start again if you make a mistake.

SAY the word either out loud or in your mind.

A smooth cursive style of handwriting should be taught and encouraged. This will help children to write the whole word in one easy movement whereas printing often leads to omissions. The letter patterns are joined and are therefore reinforced.

Left handers should be allowed to turn the paper at an angle and hold the pencil differently.

Check the word

LOOK back at the correct spelling.

COMPARE it with your attempt.

If the answer is correct, then cover it and try it again to make sure.

If the answer is incorrect then repeat the whole process.

  • DO NOT insert letters - REWRITE the whole s.

  • LOOK carefully at the tricky part and try to think of a way to remember it.

REMEMBER - try, try, try and try again - Practice makes perfect.

A Good Way To Learn Spellings

Encourage the child to correct their own work by underlining in pencil the words they think may be correct.

Look at the words they always misspell and draw their attention to them. Usually you will find these in their school exercise books or files.

Do not try to make them learn too many words at once.

They should never try to learn words that are easily confused at the same time.

 e.g.there / their 
  horse / hoarse 

They should never try to learn spellings orally or by saying out letters.

Writing over words may be helpful. They could try tracing them with their finger on a surface or in the air.

BUT do not allow the child to copy the words letter by letter.

Try to use a pencil then errors can be erased and the whole word attempted again. Do not insert letters but rub out or cross out the word and rewrite.

They should have their attention constantly directed towards words. Thus looking is extremely important.

Also saying the word as they read and write it will help.

Tracing over the word on the page, in the air, on the skin or even on a piece of sandpaper or rough material reinforces the shape of the word.

Using a word processor will make A BIG DIFFERENCE:

  • Using fingers on the keyboard helps to reinforce the Word through sense of touch

  • The word appears clearly and the child can see if it 'LOOKS RIGHT' unhindered by poor handwriting

  • Mistakes are easily corrected

  • Finished work looks good

  • Using a program such as 'Talking Word' the child can get the computer to say the word